There is a whirlwind of creative activity blowing around the radius of downtown Providence. The lines of collaboration and partnerships are drawn out from the Providence Public Library and continue onward towards Nordstrom and the Rhode Island School of Design.
Partnership and collaboration are both the buzzwords and premises of the “Portals: The History of the Future” program and many other events in the works which create connections between businesses, educational institutions, and the library.
Portals segment: “Teen Squad Fashion Forward” sponsored by Nordstrom, is a series of classes geared towards the fashionably minded. Teens signed up on a first come, first serve basis and are public, private, and home-scholars from Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
The classes which encompassed this trilogy of fashion are “Designing for the Future by Exploring the Past,” “From Turbans to Tiaras: Headdresses of the Roaring 1920's,” and “Back to the Future.” Students have created unique bejeweled and elegant headpieces, small scale 1920’s inspired designs, and regular scale designs made from paper. RISD professors Bunky Hurter and Candace French taught all three segments.
In conjunction, Nordstrom Visual Merchandise Manager Rachael Batz and the Visual Merchandising Department will create and teach students about window display, using all the library windows. They will showcase the student work and Nordstrom designers.
Lucky us! We can all view these wonderful creative collaborations now through May 11th at the Providence Public Library.
Nordstrom will also be engaging in a two-week teen program running from May 9th to the 18th. The theme will center on fitness, health, and wellness. The greatest part of all this hoopla is it is FREE for the kids.
Providence Public Teen Librarian Shannon Lake and Curatorial Assistant Angela Di Veguea are providing and facilitating invaluable opportunities for learning with direct access for research of the history of fashion through Special Collections. These ladies are providing the teens with inspirational images and information, connecting them directly to their own fashion designs inspired by lush periods of fashion history, both global and American. These are skills critical to creation. RISD professors are teaching from a professional standpoint and give that feedback and support to the teens. The Nordstrom Visual Merchandising team is a driving force of fashion, showing the students how to create top-notch displays.
Also, perhaps most importantly, the high-school teenagers are forging valuable relationships with each other, Nordstrom, the Providence Public Library, and the Rhode Island School of Design.
As I watched a class taught by Bunky Hurter and overseen by Shannon Lake and asked students questions about their designs, it became crystal clear what all this is about—the kids. All these young creative minds so open to following their dreams and passions, absorbing this wonderful opportunity like sponges and developing friendships with one another. (Mostly, all didn’t know each other before this experience.)
Bravo to the Providence Public Library, Nordstrom, and RISD for providing these kids the resources, space, inspiration, expertise, and information to grow into what I hope, great creators of our future.
by Kim Celona